side by side photos of Toronto vs NYC each displaying city's famous attraction

Toronto vs NYC: Which Is Better to Visit?

Are you having a tough time deciding between Toronto vs NYC for your next trip?

This in-depth comparison guide covers everything you need to know about both famous cities, including the best things to do in each city, where to stay, restaurant/nightlife recommendations, tips, and more!

Both cities are the metropolitan hubs of their respective countries and share a few similarities, but they are also quite different in many ways. Read further and find out which city would be best for you to visit!

On a personal note, I’m from Toronto, Canada, so there’s no other city in the world I’m more familiar with.

Growing up in Toronto, weekend trips to NYC are common because it’s only a 90-minute flight, so I’ve visited NYC several times and know the city well.

known picturesque intersection in downtown Toronto on a sunny day with clear clouds

How to Get into Toronto or NYC

Before we get into all the important details comparing these two famous beautiful cities, you should first know how to get into either city from their airports.

Toronto into the City

You’ll land at Pearson International Airport (YYZ) to get to Toronto; from there, it takes 30-45 minutes to get to Downtown Toronto.

UP Express Train: This is an express train that takes you straight into the city for $12 CAD

Private Airport Transfer: Book in advance a private car; a driver will be waiting for you

UBER: Book a ride through the app and be on your way downtown

NYC into the City

NYC is different; there are three International airports you could land at: Newark, LaGuardia, or JFK. Depending on where you land, it takes 30-60 minutes to get into the city.

From LaGuardia Airport, you can take the Subway, Private Airport Transfer, or UBER.

From JFK Airport, you can take the Subway, Private Airport Transfer, or UBER.

From Newark Airport, you can take the Subway or Shuttle, Private Airport Transfer, or UBER.

aerial views showing the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan bridge along the East River between New York City and Brooklyn

Toronto vs NYC: Main Differences

When comparing Toronto and New York City, there are several key differences that set these two vibrant cities apart from one another. One main difference lies in their respective cultures.

While both cities offer diverse cultural experiences, Toronto is most famous for its multiculturalism and inclusivity. With over 200 ethnic groups speaking more than 140 languages in the city. Sitting at a population of 6.4 Million people.

On the other hand, NYC is renowned for its iconic American culture and has a rich history as a global hub for arts, entertainment, and finance. It is also known for its several world-famous tourist attractions around the city. NYC has a population of around 8.5 Million people.

Another significant difference between the two cities is the cost to visit or live. NYC costs more to visit or live in than Toronto; hotels and housing are higher in NYC.

Lastly, transportation: NYC’s transportation is far more advanced than Toronto’s. NYC boasts one of the best subway systems in the world.

Toronto Highlights

  • Best Multi-Cultural City
  • Excellent Markets
  • Beautiful Parks
  • Friendly Locals
  • Niagara Falls
  • Cheaper to Visit than NYC

New York City Highlights

  • Several Iconic Attractions/Landmarks
  • Top Food City in the World
  • Museums & Theatres
  • Unique Neighbourhoods
  • Shopping
stunning rooftop views of Toronto skyline during sunset on a Summer night
HotelX Toronto

Toronto vs NYC: Things to Do

When it comes to exploring vibrant city life, Toronto and New York City are two destinations that offer a plethora of things to do. Let’s compare the attractions and activities in both cities to help you decide which sounds more enticing to you!

Below, you’ll find a short list of some of the best things to do in each city, though many things will be missing from each city, and that’s because, as mentioned, both cities offer too many things to do!

Another aspect to consider is the numerous events throughout the year in each city, including festivals, concerts, and sports games.

Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, an art lover, or looking to experience cultural festivities, both Toronto and NYC offer plenty to experience.

SEASONAL WEATHER:

NYC and Toronto have four seasons, depending on the time of year you choose to visit; the climate in both cities plays into the atmosphere, activities, city tourist crowd sizes, and more.

So, depending on what you’d like to experience most in either NYC or Toronto, visit during the appropriate time I’ll cover the best times to visit either city below

Things to Do in Toronto

CN Tower: Standing tall and noticeable from all over the city, the CN Tower is Toronto’s most iconic landmark and once was the tallest building in the world. Visitors can go to the top and experience remarkable views of the city.

Queen Street: A vibrant, artsy, coolest neighborhood located in the center of the city, full of unique cafes, many shopping options, and plenty of restaurants/bars.

Niagara Falls: Known as one of the most iconic tourist attractions in North America and a popular day trip from Toronto, Niagara Falls sits at #5 for the highest waterfalls in the world.

Kensington or St.Lawrence Market: Both are Toronto’s two most iconic markets; here, you’ll find a wide variety of international foods and goods from countless vendors worldwide. Foodies, both Kensington and St. Lawerence, are a must-visit in Toronto!

Casa Loma: Completed in 1914, this iconic Castle is one of Toronto’s most iconic landmarks; for those who enjoy history, experiencing Casa Loma tour is the best way to get a glimpse of Toronto in the 1900s

High Park: Located in the city’s western part, High Park is Toronto’s largest park, spanning 400 acres with several trails, ponds, streams, and a zoo.

Toronto Centre Island: If you’re visiting in the spring/summer, a visit to Toronto Centre Island is a must; on the island, you’ll experience the city’s best skyline views. The island is home to beaches, parks, and biking/walking trails.

Distillery District Tour: One of Toronto’s most famous neighborhoods is the Distillery District, known for its Victorian buildings, cobblestone streets, and boutique shops. In the winter, it’s home to Toronto’s famous Christmas Market.

views of Niagara Falls from the Canada side on a sunny day

Things to Do in NYC

NYC City Pass: The best way to see some of NYC’s famous attractions in one day is through the NYC City Pass; on tour, you’ll visit the Empire State Building, Top of the Rock, American Museum, and more!

Visit Central Park: No matter the time of year, Central Park should be on the top of your list to visit in NYC; the iconic park spans several NYC blocks and is home to plenty of picturesque trails, forests, ponds, and more!

Edge Observation Deck: Looking for the best views of NYC? Look no further; the Edge Deck is NYC’s newest observation deck offering exceptional panoramic skyline views of NYC.

Chelsea Market: Popular amongst both locals/tourists, the Chelsea Market is a massive indoor market with endless vendors selling produce, food, and more. The market is one of the best places in the city to explore many international foods in a short time.

NYC Library & Bryant Park: One of NYC’s most iconic landmarks is the famous NYC Library located in Midtown. This iconic library features breathtaking architecture both outside and inside. Located directly behind it is Bryant Park, NYC’s second most famous park, and in the winter, it’s also home to the NYC Christmas Village Market.

skating rink at Bryant Park Winter Village

Experience Dumbo, Brooklyn: Known as Brooklyn’s most famous neighborhood, Dumbo is charmingly located just over the famous Brooklyn Bridge. The neighborhood features beautiful views of the NYC skyline and plenty of great cafes, restaurants, and pizzerias.

Go to the Museums: NYC is famous for its museums, especially The MET. Spend a day or two exploring the many museums in NYC; they’re worth checking out. Besides the MET, other top museums are Guggenheim, Whitney, and MOMA

Visit the Neighbourhoods: One of NYC’s most special characteristics is its neighborhoods; each neighborhood is very different from the others, offering very different atmospheres, things to do, and crowds. It’s worth wandering the city and visiting as many as you can!

views of the New York City skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge

Toronto vs NYC: Where to Stay

Toronto and New York City are two of the largest cities in North America. With each city’s density, you’d imagine each city offers plenty of hotel options for all budgets.

But before we get into hotel recommendations and where to stay in each city. First, consider the area in the city you’d like to stay in.

Staying in a central area or one closer to things you’d like to experience in either city will make things easier during your visit.

Below, you’ll find some of the best neighborhoods in each city and hotel recommendations for each!

HOTEL TIP: While some hotels may offer more attractive prices further out of the city, consider both the time and money you’ll spend on transportation.

Where to Stay in Toronto

Entertainment District: Known as Toronto’s most popular neighborhood, here you’ll find the CN Tower, museums, plenty of restaurants, shops, and more Fairmont York Hotel or Hampton Inn

Dundas Square: Known as Toronto’s version of Times Square, you can’t get more central than here. Dundas Square is most known for the Eaton Shopping Centre One King West or Double Tree

Queen West/China Town: If you’d prefer to be surrounded by a younger hip crowd and be close to several shopping, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, etc, this is your area Ace Hotel or Hotel Ocho

Yorkville: Toronto’s most luxurious neighborhood located slightly north of downtown Toronto; the area is most known for its fancy boutique shopping, fine dining restaurants, galleries, and charming streets The Hazelton Hotel or Four Seasons Toronto

Greenery along the Toronto city skyline at Fort York Park on a Summer night

Where to Stay in NYC

Midtown: If you’re a first-time visitor to NYC and don’t mind the crowds, Midtown is the place to be; this way, you’re in the center of the city with quick access to most of the city’s attractions! Hyatt Centric Times Square or Freehand New York

SOHO: SoHo is one of the most charming neighborhoods in NYC—It is known for its cast-iron buildings, cobblestone streets, shopping, and restaurants Crosby Street Hotel or Sohotel

Greenwich Village/Chelsea: Greenwich Village is a more local style neighborhood; the area is famous for its excellent restaurants, jazz bars, comedy clubs, scenic views of the Hudson River The Marlton Hotel or Leo House

Lower East Side: Close to China Town and Little Italy, the Lower East Side is an excellent neighborhood full of brunch spots, dive bars, and restaurants; it’s also home to the Williamsburg Bridge, so visiting Brooklyn is easy The Allen Hotel or Leon Hotel LES

Upper East Side: Famous for its luxurious shopping, fine dining restaurants, and picturesque streets full of expensive houses, the Upper East Side is known for its close proximity to both Midtown and Central Park The Pierre, A Taj Hotel or The Gardens Sonesta

bright lit up buildings along the streets in Times Square, NYC

Toronto vs NYC: Restaurants

Arguably, Toronto and New York City are two of the best food cities in the world.

With Toronto ranking as one of the best multicultural cities in the world, you can find cuisine from all over the world. NYC, too, has several cultural representations, as well as its iconic street food, world-renowned dining, and NYC pizza!

It’s not much of a competition because New York City is ranked as the best food city in the world.

But that being said, whether you choose to visit New York City or Toronto, both offer many excellent fine-dining restaurants, humble local restaurants, and unique restaurants/bars to visit.

Below is a shortlist of some of my favorite restaurants in each city; there are too many to choose from, so I’ll be including only a few restaurants, from fine dining to cheap eats!

Where to Eat in Toronto

Canoe Restuarant: Serving: Serving up modern Canadian cuisine with ingredients sourced from all over Canada; offers one of the best seating views in the city

Aloette Restaurant: Chic French bar serving exceptional cocktails and small plates

SUGO: Known as Toronto’s best Italian restaurant, famous for its kinds of pasta and pizzas

PAI: One of Toronto’s most beloved restaurants, a Thai restaurant serving a wide variety of Thai dishes

Pizzeria Badiali: Known as Toronto’s #1 Pizza shop; prepare to line up if you visit

Kensington Market: If you’d like to snack away on different foods, you’ll find some of the best Mexican, Jamaican, Canadian food and more at Kensington Market!

a cocktail with beautiful dim lit bar in the background at Aloette in Toronto

Where to Eat in NYC

L’Artusi: Popular Italian restaurant in the Greenwich Village known for its wagyu carpaccio, crab pasta, hanger steak and more

COTE Korean Steakhouse: Michelin Star ranked Korean BBQ restaurant known for their high-end meat cuts

Cosme: A contemporary, modern Mexican restaurant known for its twist on Mexican food, cocktails, and wine list

John’s of Bleecker Street: Ranked one of the top #5 pizza restaurants in NYC, loved by all NewYorkers, be prepared to line up (must buy full pizza)

Scarr’s Pizza: One of NYC’s most famous pizza slice shops located in the Lower East Side

Russ & Daughters Cafe: Open since 1914, this famous bagel cafe is an iconic food staple in NYC

Street Food: Halal food carts, hotdogs, pretzels; all of these are iconic to New York and delicious, especially when you can’t think of what to eat and want something quick

two types of pizza slices served at Scarrs pizza in New York City

Toronto vs NYC: Nightlife

When it comes to nightlife, both Toronto and New York City have their own unique offerings. Toronto is known for its diverse and vibrant nightlife scene, while NYC is renowned as the city that never sleeps.

Toronto boasts a diverse mix of bars, clubs, lounges, and live music venues that cater to different tastes and preferences. From trendy rooftop bars in the Entertainment District to cozy speakeasies on Queen St and in Midtown.

NYC takes nightlife to another level with its iconic clubs like Studio 54, countless rooftop bars, and large live music venues like Avant Gardner in Brooklyn. NYC nightlife is unmatched for partygoers.

When it comes to operating hours, NYC truly lives up to its reputation as the city that never sleeps. Many establishments stay open well into the early hours of the morning or even 24/7. In comparison, Toronto has more regulated closing times due to local bylaws.

Those who love to eat out late after a night out you’ll fall in love with NYC; you’ll find plenty of restaurants here open into the late morning hours and some that never close. In Toronto, after 11:00 PM, the option to eat out is limited!

Toronto Nightlife

Rebel Nightclub: Located by the Toronto docks, Rebel is Toronto’s largest nightclub, offering a wide variety of music but best known for its EDM shows

CODA: Authentic Techno club in the northern end of downtown Toronto, best known for its sound system and late-night hours

Toybox: Spacious nightclub located right in the center of the city known for its EDM music

Lobby: A fancy picturesque lounge known for its wide variety of exceptional cocktails and small plates

DJ play for a dense crowd amongst a disco ball at Coda Nightclub in Toronto

NYC Nightlife

Avant Gardner: Large legendary venue known for its variety of live music in Brooklyn

Mr. Purple Rooftop: Popular rooftop bar in the Lower East Side with beautiful city views

Black Flamingo: Fun Mexican-style nightclub/bar offering live music with plenty of small appetizers

Rumpus Room: A fun, cozy, eclectic club known for its disco ball and live music in the LES

Westlight: Fancy cocktail bar in Brooklyn known for the best views of NYC skyline views

views of the Hudson River and Jersey City during sunset in the Summer from a rooftop

Best Time to Visit NYC or Toronto

The best time to visit Toronto or New York City is in late spring during May or early fall during mid-October. The weather is still optimal for exploring during these times, and hotels are slightly cheaper.

Winter: November – March / Avg Temperature: -2 Celcius

Spring: April – May / Avg Temperature: 17 Celcius

Summer: June – August / Avg Temperature: 25 Celcius

Fall: September – October / Avg Temperature: 19 Celcius

Both Toronto and New York City are popular winter destinations because of each city’s winter weather and Christmas atmosphere. If you choose to come during the winter, be prepared, it’s cold!

Summer is also an excellent time to visit either city; with longer days, you’ll have more time to experience either city, and there are plenty of things to do in each city during the Summer!

quiet street with a view of a small grocery store and church in the East Village, New York City

Getting around Toronto or NYC + Tips

While both cities offer each their fair share of ways to get around, New York City is far superior compared to Toronto regarding transportation infrastructure.

Getting around Toronto

TTC: The Toronto Transit Commission operates a network of subways, buses, and streetcars that serve various parts of the city

UBER: Order a car via the ridesharing app to take you anywhere in the city

Taxi: As you walk around, you’ll notice the taxis, either orange/teal or red/yellow colored

Bikes/EScooters: There are bikes and E-Scooters for rent around the city

Walking: Toronto’s neighborhoods are very walkable, and the city isn’t nearly as large as NYC, so walking around is a great way to get around

crowded intersection with many people crossing downtown Toronto

Getting around NYC

Subway: The best way to get around via subway in NYC, the city’s subway system is one of the largest in the world and connects not only NYC but the surrounding boroughs; get yourself a MetroCard

Buses: Another way is using the public buses, which offer many routes around NYC

UBER: Order a car via the ridesharing app to take you anywhere in the city

Taxi: The yellow New York City cabs are iconic; walking around, you’ll spot them everywhere

Bikes/EScooters: There are bikes and E-Scooters for rent around the city

Walking: The neighborhoods in NYC are very walkable, but at times, if you’d like to visit further areas, you will have to use some sort of transportation

beautiful buildings along the streets in Soho, New York City

Cost to Visit Toronto or NYC

Both cities are far from the cheapest places to visit. But visiting NYC vs Toronto will cost you more; NYC is known for being more expensive on all counts: hotels, eating out, tours, museum admissions, and everything else.

New York City is significantly more famous and sees plenty more tourists than Toronto. Also, real estate is more valuable there, and currency is another factor. The US dollar is stronger than the Canadian Dollar on a world scale.

Below, I’ve shared with you the average daily cost to visit each city; figures include hotel, eating out, and transportation, both priced in US Dollars.

Understand these are average numbers, and they can be lower depending on your travel style.

New York City: Daily Cost = $350

Toronto: Daily Cost = $227

This does not mean you can’t visit NYC or Toronto on a budget because it’s possible. Both destinations offer plenty of delicious cheap food and free things to do.

Regarding hotel costs, if you’re strategic and know where to stay in NYC, you can save quite a bit, and the same goes for Toronto.

outdoor restaurant showing a soccer game along with the Toronto city skyline in the background

Toronto vs NYC — Final Thoughts

Have you decided which city you should visit, between Toronto or New York City? Both are exceptional cities with plenty of things to do/see and are a melting pot of cultures.

NYC has its many advantages, being iconic, offering more to do, and being a major bucket list place for most.

But Toronto, too, has its charm; being a large city but not nearly as busy as NYC, it also offers plenty to experience and is cheaper to visit!

You’ll have an excellent time no matter where you choose to go. Both are amazing cities that should each be visited once!

Another city I highly recommend you visit if you do decide to go to Toronto is Montreal; it’s easy to get from Toronto to Montreal!

Concrete tulips on the Hudson River support the grounds of Little Island Park in New York City
Little Island Park NYC

Is Toronto or NYC cheaper?

Toronto is cheaper to visit than NYC. The average daily expense in Toronto is $227 USD; in contrast to NYC, the average daily expense is $350 USD.

Is New York City better than Toronto?

Each city has its unique traits; NYC is more famous due to its history, landmarks, and many things to do.

But in the last few years, Toronto has also become quite the city, attracting many tourists.

Is Toronto worth visiting?

Toronto is worth visiting. There are plenty of things to do here in many of the city’s charming neighborhoods. The city is home to many beautiful parks/museums, excellent restaurants, and boasts a lively nightlife.

How many days to visit NYC?

It’s best to spend at least 3 days in NYC if you can, especially if it’s your first time visiting!

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